At the present day, mass media is perceived as not only the mean of communication with the help of which the transferring of information is realized, but also as the tool that aims to defend interests of a person, society and a government. This tendency is determined by the necessity to support such social values as freedom of expression, political pluralism, freedom of thought, and intellectual liberty.
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It is possible to define several main functions performed by mass media. They are accumulation and distribution of information, selection of information, shaping of public opinion, and amplification of culture.
Background of the country
In Poland, changes in social and political system took place simultaneously with the principal reorganization of the legislation that dealt with mass media. The association of Poland to the European Union made a great influence on the legislative acts that regulated the activity of mass media in Poland. In this regard, there were adopted many constituent acts that dealt with copyright protection, mass media, and television.
A great impact on the Polish mass media landscape was made by the changes that had taken place after the countrys rejection from communism in 1989. This period was characterized by the transformation of state mass media into public broadcasting services.
The new legal regulation was enshrined in the Constitution adopted in1997. Article 54 of the Constitution states that the Republic of Poland secures the liberty of press and other means of societal communication. Moreover, the same article guarantees to everyone “the freedom to express opinion, to acquire and to disseminate information” (The Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2nd April, 1997, n.d., para.115).
There appeared articles in the Constitution that viewed “the National Council of Radio Broadcasting and Television” (The Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2nd April, 1997, n.d., para.251) as the main governmental body that was responsible for the electronic mass media.
The contemporary media landscape in Poland is characterized with a wide range of media platforms such as television, radio, films, print media, and social media. Each media platform has its own opportunities and restrictions. In the latter days on the Polish media market there is a tendency for transmission of the traditional forms to the contemporary digital media. Digital media platforms are being gradually integrated into the media market of Poland. Such forms as television, press, and advertising are characterized by the transition on online versions, mobile and social media.
Technologies and media
Now there are more than 5000 titles of public periodicals in Poland. Polish print publications have some peculiar features that are typical for this country. Most of newspapers are published in a form of a thick notebook. Most of them, exclusive of small regional newspapers, are printed in color. There are many personal announcements in periodicals, which are considered as indicators of a newspapers popularity. In spite of the fact that there are some newspapers published political parties, the majority of Polish periodicals are nonpolitical and free from media propaganda. In Polish newspapers there is no the so-called black PR.
According to the survey conducted by Macroscope OMD/OMG Metrics as cited in Lara (2015), 80 percent of Polish citizens read the printed press. Only 29 percent of respondents read the specialized press (Lara, 2015). Moreover, womens magazines are also rather popular in Poland.
For the Polish print media there is a tendency for the division between the national and regional periodicals. Among the national newspapers, it is necessary to mention such titles as Gazeta Wyborcza, Fact, Super Express, and Rzeczpospolita. (Robertson, n.d.). The main topics discussed by these periodicals are mainly national and world news, politics, various achievements in technology, and entertainment. Along with that, there are more specific periodicals such as Przegląd Sportowy, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, and Puls Biznesu. Przegląd Sportowy deals with sports service, while Dziennik Gazeta Prawna and Puls Biznesu focus on business.
The fall of the communistic system in Poland, with its tendency for the centralization of power, gave birth to the development of a wide range of regional periodicals. Every region in Poland has its own newspaper. Among the most popular regional periodicals, it is possible to mention Gazeta Pomorska, Gazeta Krakowska, and Gazeta Lubuska. As a rule, they cover mainly local news that are important for a specific region. One of the characteristic features of regional periodicals is the fact that they do not dwell on political issues.
With this in mind, it is possible to say that technologies are replacing some traditional kinds of media and nowadays people prefer to use different digital devices to read the latest news. Spread of mobile phones, which are able to provide accesses to different magazines and journals in the Internet leads to the appearance of new tendencies.
There is a great deal of radio broadcasting stations in Poland. Depending on their function, they may be subdivided into educational, entertaining and informative radio broadcasters. Moreover, there exists an extensive network of regional stations.
The Polish public radio broadcaster is represented with 4 national radio stations and 17 regional radio stations. In accordance with the legislation, one third of the transmitted programs should be made in Poland. Program 1, which is also known as Jedynka, (Radio Poland, n.d.) is designed for a wide audience. Program 2 generally deals with programs devoted to culture. This program transmits musical classical concerts and radio broadcasts devoted to poetry. Program 3 deals with a wide range of programs from news and up to music and entertainment. The activity of the regional broadcasting stations focuses mainly on local news, regional problems, and the work of local councils.
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Along with that, there are many independent commercial radio broadcasters, such as RMF FM, which is one the biggest radio stations in Europe. Nowadays, the signal of RMF FM covers approximately 95 percent of the territory of Poland. It is possible to achieve the additional access to it by means of digital video platforms and Internet. This broadcaster deals mainly with music.
It is necessary to mention another big broadcasting station such as ZET that performs its activity in collaboration with CNN and has a right to use materials provided by CNN.
All the above-mentioned radio stations have the Internet versions of the radio broadcasting. At the same time, this tendency in not very popular in Poland as the majority of people prefers to listen to the radio by means of the traditional receiving set.
In the past, broadcast media in Poland was controlled by the government. Starting in 1989, the transformation of governmental mass media into public has taken place. Nowadays in Poland, there is a common practice not to sell a TV set until it is registered by a buyer and the subscriber fee is paid. Public TV channels do not belong to the government and are not subsidized by it.
Now there may be distinguished national and regional TV channels. The dominant TV broadcaster in Poland is Telewizja Polska that includes TVP1 and TVP2 channels. The audience of this broadcaster consists of more than half of the total audience of the country. Apart from political and world news, Telewizja Polska realizes educational program Polonia 1, with the purpose of the popularization of the Polish culture, history, and science. The program is transmitted within 24 hours and it is provided with English subtitles.
There are several ways to obtain access to TV channels in Poland. It is possible to use a ground-based antenna. However, in such a way only several channels are available. The next way is to choose one of TV providers. This method is used by the majority of the population. The third way is the usage of the digital platforms. Within the development of such technologies such services as Video on demand, Internet TV and digital television become available. Now in Poland there is a tendency for the substitution of the analogue television by digital TV.
Social media, online media, mobile
Like in any other developed country in Poland there is a rising trend for the development of social media. Strzelczyk (2012) states that “ 54% of Polish adults (over 18 years old) use social media” (para.1). At the same time, the overwhelming majority of the respondents are young people aged from 18 to 24. This fact indicates the tendency for the popularization of social media mainly among the representatives of the young generation.
Among the most popular social media sites in Poland, it is necessary to mention such internationally acclaimed social networks as Facebook and Twitter. The amount of their users is increasing from year to year. Apart from them, there are indigenously Polish media sites such as Fotka and Goldenline (Social media guide for Poland, 2014, para.3). It is also necessary to mention such popular Internet portals as Onet, Interia and Wirtualna Polska.
In Poland, more and more informational agencies simultaneously with the traditional forms of news covering resort to mobile applications, which are especially popular among business persons and young people.
Topics discussed using media. Gender, race, politics, social issues
Recent studies evidence the certain dependence between the social and educational level of Polish citizens and their choice of media. Thus, people with high incomes read a lot and at the same time, they rarely watch TV. In these rare occasions when high-income people watch television, they are interested mainly with news broadcasts or educational programs. Practically all of them are active users of the Internet.
The middle class people as a rule prefer watching TV to reading newspapers. At the same time, the representatives of the young generation prefer the contemporary digital media platforms to all other mass media. Moreover, media preferences depend upon gender. Thus, womens magazines are rather popular among females in Poland. Males prefer periodicals that deal with politics and specialized magazines. At the same time there is no a substantial difference between genders in usage of the contemporary media platforms
The Polish mass media is developing rather traditionally. At the same time, there is trend for the subdivision between the national and regional mass media. Moreover, there is a tendency for the substitution of the print media with the alternative sources such as television, Internet, radio and social media. It should be noted that despite the severe censorship in the socialistic past, Poland has managed to maintain its traditions in mass media.
For instance, such clerical publication as Tygodnik Powszechny has been issueing despite the absence of the formal permission. The mass media system in Poland has its own original structure that combines their own traditions, the socialistic influence, and European innovations.
The contemporary media landscape in Poland is characterized with the high integration of digital media and the traditional forms of obtaining information. It is possible to say that in Poland digital media is not a separate category anymore, but a part of the overall marketing offer.
Lara, A. (2015). Media Landscapes. Poland. Web.
Radio Poland. (n.d.). Web.
Robertson, T. (n.d.). Poland Press, Media, TV, Radio, Newspapers. Web.
Social media guide for Poland. (2014). Web.
Strzelczyk, K. (2012). Social media in Poland –over half of Poles use networking websites. Web.